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05 Literary Theory Part 1

Plato and Aristotle rediscovered in the Renaissance
by

Jaime Bihlmeyer

on 14 September 2016

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Transcript of 05 Literary Theory Part 1

LITERARY THEORY I
HUMANIST LITerary THEORY
PLATO (427-347BCE)
TURNING POINT:
The Renaissance
Started in the arts when the human perspective began to be depicted as equal and and even to supersede the divine
EUROPEAN re-discovery and acceptance of the Greek
and Roman classical texts
which was The NEW beginning of the concept that Rational thought will bring truth and
all knowledge
Beware of the arts and the senses
The world is organized into pairs of
binary oppositions: good/bad,
rational/irrational, male/female.
the arts only produce copies of
our perceptions of the cave shadows
that make up the material world.
Only
RATIONAL
processes can
approach the truth of ideal form
which leads to
ENLIGHTENMENT
.
SO: DOCUMENTARY CONTENT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN
literary FORM--because form can bedazzle us.
literature, which is more concerned with form than truth in content, can
overly affect
the senses and our emotions and so distract us from enlightenment--keeping us in the cave
ARISTOTLE (384-322BCE)
form
in art
reveals truth
in
different
ways than
rational processes
So Aristotle is a
starting
point
for expanding on
Plato's
ideal rational Forms

into more of a connection
with the world and the
senses.
An
External Ideal Reality
exists
beyond the Material World and
this Ideal Reality can bring us
enlightenment
.
The Material World has
form
and principles that we can discover
and from which we can
make meaning through
rational processes: Science.
ARISTOTLE'S
AESTHETIC CRITICISM
PLATO'S MORAL CRITICISM
vs.
is focused on literary CONTENT
and its effect on people: does
it help or hinder the pursuit of
enlightenment?
is focused on FORM AND UNITY
in artwork: these must lead to principles and observable data for Aristotle.
The Annunciation by Cavallini (1291)
The Annunciation by Fra Angelico (1438)
The Annunciation by Fra Angelico (1438)
The Annunciation by Cavallini (1291)
Lack of "perspective," that is, of depth and the illusion of a "real" location, which suggests that man's point of view is not as important as the religious message.
Good "perspective," that is, a sense of a "vanishing point" beyond the back wall, which suggests that man's point of view is as important as the religious message.
the Historical
Plato seems to suggest that:
Content = good
Form = bad
For Plato:
Aristotle proposes that:
Which type of movie would each philospher most approve of?
Documentary
Classical Hollywood Cinema movie
Avant Garde Cinema
Like "Capitalism, a love story" Michael Moore (2010)
like "It's a Wonderful Life" Frank Capra (1946)
like "Pulp Fiction" by Quentin Tarantino (1994)
Kick-starter of the Renaissance:
According to Plato:
Away from the path to enlightenment
The Annunciation by Fra Angelico (1438)
The Annunciation by Cavallini (1291)
Literary Fiction
vs.
"Genre" Fiction
romance, scifi and detective
all of which have examples of literary merit
Sir Arthur Clark,
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
Raymond Chandler, et al.
Movies are narrative work:
Storytelling
So literary theory is useful in analyzing movies of merit.
Theory is a system of ideas
or a set of principles
intended to explain, justify
or evaluate a process.
So, in our case,
theory is a system or systems of principles for analyzing
a text/movie.
or "pulp"
and particularly
for literary theory:
In other words:
form
can be as
important as content
for
enlightenment
Content heavy non-fiction with
community value
Form (CHC) with
catharsis for the
community
Content with
community value
time manipulated Form with
mesmerizing ambiguity
Discover the basic unit of a system
Discover the rules that govern how these units can be combined
Like Aristotle, Structuralist are interested in
a scientific analysis of a system.
This interest in systems and structures
was reinforced by advances in chemistry
and physics in the 19th and 20th centuries:
the atom as a basic unit of all matter.
STRUCTURALIST GAME PLAN:
We Mean:
Generally, by literary merit, we mean
fiction writing that has stood the
test of time.
PLATO
Philosophy
'bedazzle' us
content
form
by literature
Humanist influences
Let's go back in time!
after the dark ages
according to Plato:
Also: The arts are concerned
with the
artifice
of FORM
rather than
rational
CONTENT
In other words, a scientific
approach to forms and
the arts and their affect
on the senses can contribute to
enlightenment.
For example: a table is a material form of the External Ideal Reality:
tableness
--independent of the mind and
material existence.
In fact, Aristotle wrote a 'scientific'
study on the art of writing and dramatic
theory called
THE POETICS
--still used today.
first known book on
literary theory!
AND "MULHOLLAND DRIVE (LYNCH 2001)
FOR PLATO
IF WE STUDY
THE ESSENCE OF
TABLENESS
WE WILL FIND
ENLIGHTENMENT!?
http://www.english.hawaii.edu/criticalink/aristotle/terms/tragedy.html
marxist literary theory, psychoanalytic literary theory, post-structuralist literary theory.....
PRE-RENAISSANCE
RENAISSANCE
--and so is literature!
So, in our case, theory is a system
of principles for
analyzing a text/movie.
to depicting
the human
perspective.
The Annunciation by Cavallini (1291)
The Annunciation by Fra Angelico (1438)
Humanism began when the arts
switched from focusing on the divine

-Flat
-Very little human perspective
-Concerned
only with
the divine
3-D
Human
POV
Divine
content
but
human
oriented
LINEAR PERSPECTIVE
RENAISSANCE
'REBIRTH' OF
RATIONAL THOUGHT
AFTER THE
DARK AGES
THE REDISCOVERY AND DISSEMINATION OF CLASSICAL TEXTS
KICKSTARTER
OF THE RENAISSANCE:
PLATO
ARISTOTLE
--The arts produce
copies of our perceptions
based on the cave shadows
--The arts are concerned
with the
artifice
of form
and not rational content and
ideal forms
--Plato mixes rationality
and mysticism which will
translate into 'idealism' in
the age of Enlightenment.
--The
arts bedazzle us
away
from the 'reality' of ideal
forms that only a few who
leave the 'cave' perceive.
--are the shadows on the wall
a metaphor for motion
pictures on a theater screen?
--For Plato art works that
feature
content over form
such as
documentaries
are
closer to 'enlightenment'
than art for art sake.
(427-347 BC)
(384-322 BC)
Form in the world--whether in the arts or the sciences--reveals truth in different ways than rational
processes.
So, the arts in its high form
can lead to enlightenment.
Aristotle advocates walking
out of the cave and experiencing
the world
via mind and senses
.
PRE-HUMANISM ERA
ANTI-HUMANISTIC DIVINITY
Concept: original sin
and life after death.
POST-MODERNISM
ANOTHER
ANTI-HUMANISM ERA ?
RENAISSANCE THROUGH
MODERNISM
HUMANISM ERA
'SILENCIO'
HUMANISM
& LITERARY
THEORY
Full transcript